Developers describe plans for former Falmouth school

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FALMOUTH — The Planning Board heard preliminary ideas and provided feedback Tuesday about turning the former Plummer School into a 35-unit senior rental housing facility.

The project, proposed by OceanView Retirement Community, has already received Town Council approval of a conceptual master plan. Matt Tier, of OceanView, said the plan is to return the discussion to the council on Dec. 8, and come back to the Planning Board at a later date.

Tier said the Lunt Road project would be an “affordable senior housing project,” for moderate-income tenants. He said it will be a formal part of OceanView, and will not receive the same services as OceanView. He did say, however, that a la carte services will be provided because “it is on the OceanView campus.”

Tier also said the developers are looking into doing historic tax credits applicable to rehabilitation projects that result in creating affordable housing. As part of this, Tier said they are suggesting turning the gymnasium, which was a two-story structure in the middle of the building, into a community center or senior center.

Part of the discussion focused on parking for the facility. A preliminary proposal is for 35 spots, or one per unit.

However, the building shares parking with the Mason-Motz facility and the Village Green, and the question was raised about where residents would park during large events.

“You’re proposing to create private, low-income apartments,” board member Chris Hickey said. “We don’t want to see any rights get subsumed by a grand vision.”

Hickey cited tenants being unable to find parking during these events after they come back from grocery shopping. He said the goal should be to “preserve a sense of ownership and tenants’ rights.”

Tier said there is also the possibility for future expansion on the facility, although nothing is in the works yet. 

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

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Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.